April 2016

This Day in History… April 7, 1862

Union Wins Battle of Shiloh 

U.S. #1179 was printed on peach-colored paper to honor the fact that part of the battle was fought in a peach orchard.

On April 7, 1862, Ulysses S. Grant won the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee.

Grant’s Army of the Tennessee arrived in Tennessee in early April and set up temporary quarters near a small log church named Shiloh, which is a Hebrew word meaning “place of peace.” Rather than build defenses around the camp – which he planned to leave once reinforcements under General Don Carlos Buell arrived – Grant spent the time drilling his troops. “Besides this, the troops with me, officers and men, needed discipline and drill more than they did experience with the pick, shovel and axe.”

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This Day in History… April 6, 1896

1st Modern Olympic Games 

Greece #125 was issued in 1896 to promote the games and pictures statue Hermes of Praxiteles.

The first Olympic Games in 1,500 years began on April 6, 1896, in Athens, Greece.

According to legend, Hercules founded the Olympic Games to honor his father Zeus. The earliest games began in 776 B.C. States were prouder of Olympic victories than of battles they won. Women, slaves, and foreigners weren’t allowed to participate. The first Olympic events were running contests. Boxing, chariot racing, and wrestling contests were added over time. Roman Emperor Theodosius I ended the games in 393 A.D. because he feared they had a pagan influence.

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This Day in History… April 5, 1856

Happy Birthday Booker T. Washington 

U.S. #873 was the first stamp to picture an African American.

Booker Taliaferro Washington was born into slavery on April 5, 1856, in Hale’s Ford, Virginia.

Booker grew up on the plantation of James Burroughs with his mother, who worked there as a cook. His father was an unknown white man, likely from a nearby plantation. Booker began working as a child, carrying 100-pound bags of grain to the plantation’s mill. Passing by a nearby school one day, he looked in the window and saw children his age reading, and he longed to do the same.

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This Day in History… April 4, 1841

W.H. Harrison Becomes First President to Die in Office 

U.S. #814 – Harrison stamp from the 1938 “Prexies.”

On April 4, 1841, President William Henry Harrison died of pneumonia, which he caught a month earlier during his inauguration.

William Henry Harrison was born on February 9, 1773, in Charles City County, Virginia. He was the last American President born a British subject. William’s father, Benjamin Harrison V, was a delegate to the Continental Congress, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and a governor of Virginia.

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This Day in History… April 3, 1783 and 1865

Birth of Washington Irving
Union Forces Capture Richmond

Happy Birthday Washington Irving 

U.S. #859 – Irving was honored in the 1940 Famous Americans Series.

Author Washington Irving was born on April 3, 1783, in New York City.

The youngest of 11 children, Irving was named after Revolutionary War hero George Washington. He even attended Washington’s presidential inauguration in 1789. Irving received a private education as a child and soon found he had talent for writing. He eventually began writing essays for the Morning Chronicle under the pen name Jonathan Oldstyle. After a two-year tour of Europe, Irving attended law school.

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This Day in History… April 2, 1872 and 1917

Death of Samuel Morse
Woodrow Wilson Declares War

 Samuel Morse Dies 

U.S. #890 – Morse was honored in the Famous Americans series in 1940.

On April 2, 1872, telegraph inventor Samuel Morse died.

Samuel Morse was born on April 27, 1791 in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He attended Yale College where he studied religious philosophy, mathematics, and the science of horses. Morse frequently attended lectures on electricity and supported himself by painting.

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